GOALS from Victor Osimhen and substitute Ahmed Musa, on Saturday evening at Grande Stade de Tangier, Morocco, gave Nigeria a 2-0 victory over the Lone Stars of Liberia, in the fifth round of the 2022 World Cup qualifying series.
The victory gave Nigeria a fairlead on the group C table with 12 points ahead of the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde [with 10 points] which also defeated the Central African Republic 2-1 on Saturday.
Nigeria need just a point to progress to the playoff round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers at the expense of Cape Verde, as the outcome of the game between CAR and Liberia remains inconsequential.
Returnee Odion Ighalo will have to wait until Tuesday when the Super Eagles will face Cape Verde in Lagos for the last World Cup qualifier to make a return debut, as he was not listed for Saturday’s game having arrived in Morocco on Thursday morning from Saudi Arabia.
Napoli star, Osimhen,put the three-time African champions ahead in the14th minute when he scored from the spot.
Liberia goalkeeper, Boison Wynney De Souza, had upended goal-bound Kelechi Iheanacho in the box, leaving the referee to award a penalty in favour of Nigeria.Jamilu Collins would have doubled the lead in the29th minute but his goal was ruled out for offside, while Osimhen almost netted abrace three minutes later but squandered the chance.
William Troost-Ekong tooin the 36th minute wasted a chance.
Watford’s new signing,Maduka Okoye was brilliant enough to save Nigeria from conceding an equaliser in the40th and 43rd minute, while Glasgow Rangers’ Leon Balogun made a timely effort to ensure Nigeria kept a clean slate in the half.
As the Liberians continued to probe for a leveller, Chidera Ejuke came on to replace Alex Iwobi in the63rd minute, as the homers three minutes later made a double substitution.
Chidozie Awaziem in the76th minute unleashed ashot which swerved over the bar, as Osimhen four minutes later missed another chance to double the lead for Gernot Rohr’s side.
Captain Musa, made his102nd cap as he replaced Iheanacho in the 88th minute.
The Fatih Karagumruk of Turkey winger hits the scoresheet during added time, when he also converted a spot kick awarded the visitors, after lurking Osimhen, was wrestled to the ground by the Lone Stars goalkeeper, De Souza.